KZN Midlands ready to host fourth DHI National Cup

Junior Men's Log leader, Christopher Philogene is looking to hold onto the top spot in his category at the third round of the 2016 KZNMTB Provincial Downhill Series – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles, on Sunday 22 May, which doubles as the fourth round of the 2016 SA National DHI Cup Series. Photo: Paul Botma

Junior Men's Log leader, Christopher Philogene is looking to hold onto the top spot in his category at the third round of the 2016 KZNMTB Provincial Downhill Series – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles, on Sunday 22 May, which doubles as the fourth round of the 2016 SA National DHI Cup Series. Photo: Paul Botma

The KwaZulu-Natal Midlands is all set to host the third round of the 2016 KZNMTB Provincial Downhill Series – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles, on Sunday 22 May, which doubles as the fourth round of the 2016 SA National DHI Cup Series. The sublime trail network and heavenly singletracks that are synonymous with mountain biking in the Howick and Karkloof areas will no doubt attract a large national field as the National Cup Series Finale heats up.

Leading the overall Points Log after three races is local resident Jonathan Philogene with 615 points, followed by Capetonian rival Stefan Garlicki (500) and then his sibling, Christopher Philogene on 481 points, however Christopher leads the Junior Men’s rankings. Third in the Elite Men’s rankings is the Western Cape’s Adi van der Merwe on 475 points. Garlicki’s impressive second position on the Log comes after only competing in two events and scoring top points in both events.

With Christopher Philogene leading the Junior Men’s Log, he is followed by fellow local Sharjah Jonsson (324) and Western Cape’s Coenie Slabbert (275), while Jason du Toit leads the Youth Men’s race with 329 points. Du Toit is followed by Jason Williams (227) and Shaun Smale (217), both from KwaZulu-Natal.

“I'm loving this season so far,” says Christopher Philogene. “Leading my category is awesome and being up there with the big guys is even better,” he added.

Philogene says that the plan for him would be take the title in his age group in the SA National Cup as well as the KwaZulu-Natal series race this weekend so that he can be selected for the UCI MTB World Championships in Val Di Sole, Italy, from 6-11 September. “I feel if I stay on my bike I could take the win, although, my competition is getting better and better every race,” he said.

The 17-year-old says that being “up there” in the rankings, where he currently lies third overall on the National Series Log, is “rad”. “Jono (my brother) is also up there in first place for the SA DHI Cup Series, and being up on the podiums with him is awesome,” he said. “We both have been putting in the effort together and he's helped me a lot, so being up on the podium with him and seeing the hard work pay off is a great feeling – I’m sure he would say the same.”

After competing in two races this season, Kim Westbrook leads the Elite Women’s charge with 11 points, followed by Tracey Hill (6). Other popular contenders in the women’s race are Sub Veterans Kathryn Fourie, Simone Futter and Larise Venter; Sub Juniors Charlotte Wolfson and Sabine Thies; and Elite Lauren Hoyer.

Taking part in this weekend’s Downhill race is Elite Women’s contender Lauren Hoyer. For me, the Downhill event is a mental race so I can generally ignore the pain in my arms and legs because you don't really have a choice but to just suck it up and carry on.”

When asked about the possible pressure of the Downhill Provincial also counting as a National Cup race, she said: “I am not very fast, so for me competing in the races helps me to push myself to develop my riding skills and have fun with all my mates. I am not racing for places or points, although getting good results is always a great feeling!"

To view the 2016 SA DHI Cup Series Log after three rounds, click here.

The third and final round of the 2016 KZNMTB Provincial DHI Series – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles, takes place in Karkloof on Sunday 22 May. Entries are open and close at midnight on Wednesday 18 May. Click here to enter.

For more information, contact Rebecca van der Linde info@kznmtb.co.za.